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tv   Today in Washington  CSPAN  March 7, 2013 6:00am-9:00am EST

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>> order. statement, the secretary of state for foreign and commonwealth affairs. "money rocks" "money rocks". >> secretary william hayes. >> mr. speaker, with permission i'll make a statement on the crisis in syria. the time has come to announce to the house necessary developments in our policy and our readiness to develop it further if the bloodshed continues. two years after it gans --
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began, 10,000 people have died since i last updated the house in early january. that means more people have died in the first two months of this year than in the whole of the first year of the conflict. the total estimated death toll is now over 70,000 people. the regime has used scud ballistic missiles against civilian areas and there's evidence of grave human rights violations, war crimes and crimes against humanity including massacres, torture, summary executions and a systematic policy of rape and sexual violence by the regime forces and its militia. a year ago one million people needed humanitarian aid inside syria. that figure is now up to four million people out of a total population of 21 million. 40,000 people are fleeing syria each week, three-quarters of them women and children. the number of refugees have
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increased thirtyfold over the last ten months, and today the sad milestone of one million refugees has been reached. the population of lebanon which i visited two weeks ago has risen by 10% from the influx of destitute people. this is a desperate situation of increasingly extreme humanitarian suffering. there is no sign that the assad regime currently intends to enter into a genuine political process. they appear to believe they can defeat their opponents militarily, and they count on being shielded by some countries at the united nations security council. it will be necessary to turn each of these calculations on its head if the conflict is to come to a peaceful end. securing a diplomatic breakthrough remains, of course, our objective. last week i discussed it with john kerry here in london and other close partners with the friends of the syrian people in rome. in rome i also met the syrian
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national coalition's president and welcomed his brave announcement that the national coalition is open to direct talks with members of the assad regime. we continue our efforts to develop common ground with russia. i will have talked with the russian foreign minister later this afternoon and next week also here in london. and at the end of january, the u.n. and arab league special representative for syria set out a credible plan for the establishment of a transitional authority in syria. we're working with allies to achieve, if at all possible, security council backing for a transition process, and i'm meeting mr. bra brahimi again ao this afternoon. the fact is diplomacy is taking far too long, and the prospect of an mealed breakthrough is -- an immediate breakthrough is slim. lance armstronger number of refugees and confrontation. the international community cannot stand still in the face
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of this reality. our policy has to move towards more active efforts to prevent the loss of life in syria, and this means stepping up our support to the opposition and thereby increasing the pressure on the regime to accept a political solution. what we face is not a choice between diplomacy on the one hand and practical assistance on the other. helping the opposition is crucial to bringing about a political transition and saving lives, and both must be pursued together. we will always be careful in how we develop our policy, but our readiness to develop it further should be unmistakeable, particularly for the as 15d regime -- assad regime. what happens in syria is vital to our national interests for three reasons. the first is the growth of extremism. the vast majority of people opposing the regime are ordinary people trying to defend their commitments and gain freedom for their country, but syria today has become the top destination for jihadists anywhere in the world, and we're already seeing
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a rise in sectarian violence and attacks using car bombs. we cannot allow syria to become another breeding ground for terrorists who pose a threat to our national security. second, the crisis is undermining the peace of the region. there have been reports of clashes on the iraqi border and in lebanon. we are increasingly concerned about the regime's readiness to use chemical weapons. we have warned the assad regime that the use of chemical weapons would lead to a serious response from the international community. those who order the use and who use chemical weapons will be held to account. there's also credible information that iran is providing considerable military support to the regime true its revolutionary guard corps including personnel, weapons and direct financial assistance. third, we and our allies must always be prepared to respond to situations of extreme humanitarian distress.
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our foreign policy is inseparable from supporting international law. we must assist the genuine, moderate and democratic forces in syria who are in dire need of help and who feel abandoned by the international community. the longer this conflict goes on, the more human suffering, persecution of minorities, radicalization and sectarian conflict there will be. despite these three compelling arguments, there will still be those who say britain should have nothing to do with syria. but we cannot look the other way while human rights are flouted, and it would be height of irresponsibility to ignore potential threat to our own security. so i want to explain to the house today the next step in increasing our support to the syrian people, and i emphasize there may well have to be further steps. we have contributed nearly 140 million pounds in humanitarian aid so far. this is funding foot, clean
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drinking water, medical stabs, blankets and shelter for many tens of thousands of people. we're supporting the syrian national coalition's own efforts to deliver aid inside syria, and we will seek new ways to expand access for aid across the country while preparing to help a future government deal with the aftermath of the conflict. we've also committed a total of 9.4 million pounds so far in nonlethal support to the syrian op suggestion, civil society and human rights defenders. we've trained more than 300 syrian journalists and activists, and we're providing satellite communication devices to document human rights violences and abuses. i informed the house in january that we would seek to amend the european union sanctions on syria to open up the possibility of further assistance if the situation deteriorated. on thursday we finalized with our european partners a specific exemption to the e.u. sanctions
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to permit the provision of nonlethal military equipment and all forms of technical assistance to the syrian national coalition where it is spended for the approximate of civilians -- intended for the protection of civilians. this is important no our ability to help -- in our ability to help save lives. it can include advice and training on how to maintain security in areas no longer controlled by the regime, on coordination between civilian and military councils, on how to protect civilians and minimize the risks to them and how to maintain security during a transition. we will now provide such assistance, advice and training. we intend to respond to the opposition's request to provide equipment for search and rescue operations and incinerators and collection kits to prevent the spread of disease. we will help local councils to repair electricity and water supplies to homes, and we will also respond to the opposition's request for further water
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purification kits and equipment to help civilian political leaders operate and communicate. we will also now provide new types of nonlethal equipment for the protection of civilians going beyond what we have given before. in conjunction with the national coalition, we are identifying the protective equipment which will be of most assistance to them and likely to save most lives. i will keep the house updated, but it will certainly include, for instance, armored four-wheel drive vehicles to help opposition figures move around more freely as well as personal protection equipment including body armor. we will be able to provide testing equipment to the opposition to enable evidence gathering in the horrific event of chemical weapons use, and we will also fund training to help armed groups understand their responsibilities and obligations under international law and international human rights standards. any human rights violations or abuses are unacceptable on all sides. we've allocated nearly three
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million pounds in something this month to support this work and an additional ten million pounds thereafter comprising $20 million in nonlethal equipment and practical support to the syrian op is decision and civilian -- opposition and civilian society. and we hope other countries will offer similar assistance. the cabinet is in no doubt that this is a necessary, proportionate and lawful response to a situation of extreme humanitarian suffering, and though there is no practicable alternative. all our systems will be carefully calibrated and monitored as well as legal and will be aimed at alleviating the human catastrophe and supporting moderate groups. the process in this way was difficult, and the decision came down to the wire. we persisted with it because we believe it is preferable to have a united e.u. approach. in our view if a solution is not found and the conflict continues, we and the rest of
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the european union will have to be ready to move further, and we should not rule out any option for saving lives. in case further necessary amendments to the sanctions regime prove impossible to agree, we stand ready to take any domestic measures necessary to insure that core sanctions on syria remain effective. this is a situation in syria where extreme humanitarian distress and growing dangers to international peace and security must weigh increasingly heavy in the balance against other risks. with this crisis now becoming one of major dimensions with any standard with millions of people on the move and tens of of thousands dead, tens of thousands more in daily danger of losing their lives, the world's most volatile region and growing tension and political deadlock endured for two years, our policy cannot be static, nor our position indifferent. the situation of growing gravity requires a steadily more active approach. learning the lessons of previous
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conflicts and always emphasizing the need for a political and diplomatic result of the crisis but also being prepared to use increased pressure to try to bring this about. we will continue to keep the house properly informed as we press for an end to the conflict, provide life-saving assistance and work to insure that syria has the political transition which people deserve. >> [inaudible] alexander. >> thank you, mr. speaker. can i thank the foreign secretary for his statement and, indeed -- [inaudible] this month marks the second anniversary of the start of this brutal on flick. two years on, as the foreign secretary has rightly pointed out, the death toll is now estimated at some 07,000 and is rising -- 70,000 and is rising by the day. only today the united nations announced that the number of civilian refugees has now
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reached one million. half of these refugees are children. more than 400,000 since the first of january, 2013, alone. and more than 7,000 are reported to be fleeing every day. the united nations today declared that syria is spiraling towards full-scale disaster. so, mr. speaker, as the number of casualties rise, frustrations too have been growing, and this frustration has understandably led to renewed calls to the international community to do more. the primary responsibility for this crisis rests with assad and his regime. but, mr. speaker, does the foreign secretary accept that the deteriorating situation in syria also represents an abject failure on behalf of the international community and they share a collective responsibility for that? it is right that efforts must now intensify, but the key issue is the breadth of these efforts, how these efforts are channeled
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and how likely they are to deliver results? first, mr. speaker, on international diplomatic efforts, the stalemate at the united nations security council is more than just frustrating, it is deplorable. the case must be made to russia and china that supporting or aiding assad not only harms syria, but harms their own interests and, indeed, standing within the wider region. the can the foreign secretary or set out what recommendations he will make in london next week specifically on the prospects and the changes in the security council? separately on sanctions, the issue at present is not necessarily about new sanctions, but effective enforcement of existing sanctions. given his recent visit, does the foreign secretary agree with me that more must be done to insure
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that countries fully comply with the existing sanctions to which they have already signed up? third, on the issue of international accountability, the responsibility for the crisis as i made clear primarily rests with the assad regime, and the perpetrators must ultimately be held to account. does the foreign secretary agree that efforts to publish the name of syrian officers ordering the ongoing atrocities are vital as they could serve as a clear signal of spent that they will face -- of intent that they will face justice for their crimes and, of course, that includes the use of chemical weapons. fourth, on the issue of peace talks, the leader of the syrian national coalition, last month reportedly offered to engage in talks on a political settlement without demanding assad's resignation. in his comments in the interview given last week by assad, assad claimed he was ready to negotiate with anyone, including militants who surrender their arms. neither of offers have yet been
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accepted, nor can we make a judgment as to the spirit with which they were intended, but can the foreign secretary offer his assessment of whether or not they constitute t a slight narrowing between the gap of the syrian authorities and opposition forces? finally, mr. speaker, let me turn to the central issue of the u.k. support for the syrian opposition and the announcement and the statement made today. it is right that the u.k. is at the forefront of coordinating international efforts to deliver aid to those most in need both with within and beyond the syrian borders, and i welcome announcements to that effect. when it comes the our support for the syrian opposition forces, it is vital that all of our support must continue to be targeted and accountable if it's to be effective. so, mr. speaker, the foreign secretary has today said the government will move towards, and i quote directly, more active efforts to prevent the loss of life in syria. it is right that the international community must increase their efforts, but it is vital that the parameters of
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these efforts are clearly set out, defined and understood. indeed, on this issue the foreign secretary's statement at times raised more questions than answers as to the real direction he is suggesting for british government policy. the foreign secretary has today spoken of the amendments made to the e.u. arms embargo. i welcome the fact that these changes were agreed at the e.u. foreign affairs council. those amendments were focused on insuring that the right the to known lethal equipment could be delivered to opposition forces. but, mr. speaker, the work of the foreign office minister in the house on monday seemed to add some confusion to an already complex issue. when addressing the house on monday, the minister said, and i quote directly, this is not about lifting any arms embargo. mr. speaker, he then went on to say about the recent amendments to the existing e.u. arms embargo that it was about insuring that all options are on the table and that e.u. countries have maximum
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flexibility the to provide the opposition with all necessary assistance to protect civilians. mr. speaker, i think given these statements it is understandable that there is currently some confusion over the government's position that requires further clarification. so can the foreign secretary today say some more about the next steps that he anticipated in his statement? can he confirm whether or not the government will be pushing for an e.u. arms embargo to be lifted in and can he also set out what, if any, further amendments to the embargo he will be calling for? the foreign secretary has committed that when it comes to lifting the arms embargo, that the risks of arms falling into the wrong hands is one of the reasons we don't do it now. we agree with him that the risk of this is, indeed, very serious. so can he, therefore, set out to the house what would have to change on the ground in syria for him to change his view as to the relative risks involved in such a strategy?
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does he accept the reality is that today syria is replete with arms and will he accept the very great difficulties involved in guaranteeing the end use of weapons given the lack of clarity today about the identity, the intent and, indeed, the tactics of some of the rebel forces? does he accept that it is possible that if europe or indeed the west more generally were to decide to arm the rebels, that russia or, indeed, iran as he reference inside his remarks would simply increase their provision of arms to the assad regime? rather than pushing for the embargo to be to be relaxed, amended or lufted altogether, can he ask him to direct his efforts towards getting the russians and chinese to get an arms embargo? the most effect thive way of cutting off a key lifeline to the regime. somewhat curiously, the foreign secretary having previously mentioned the fact that al-qaeda are known to be
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operating in syria was silent in his remarks today. in light of increased u.k. support for the opposition forces, can the foreign secretary set out what is the british government assessment of the present level of this activity by al-qaeda and related jihad u.s. groups in syria? the can he give any assurances about the degree of authority and control exercised by the fnc over the wide range of opposition forces operating on the ground? the foreign -- >> i'm mildly alarmed by my sight of a further full page of text from the right honorable gentleman, but i know he'll put my mind at rest when he tells me he's not trying to deal with it. >> i will endeavor to keep my remarks as short as possible. i would simply say i indicated when listening to the foreign secretary's statements, it had
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begged more questions than answers, but i'm mindful, so let me conclude with following remarks. i understand frustrations are growing, but a strategy borne of frustration is less likely to deliver than one based on strategic insight. surely the priority now for britain should be to work to unipie the -- unify the syrian opposition. syria needs to see a deescalation and a political resolution. while the government has our support for its action toss provide humanitarian and nonlethal assistance to syria announced today, it is far from clear that taking steps to intensify this conflict in the months ahead would do anything to reduce the present level of violence being suffered by the syrian people. >> mr. speaker, the right honorable gentleman correctly draws attention, as i have done, to the extent of the human suffering. and the fact that the united nations has launched the largest ever appeal in financial terms
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for humanitarian terms just underlines the catastrophic scale of that suffering, and we must all remember in our remarks that that is the background to this, and that is the background for deciding what we have to do in that situation. um, he recommended something towards the end of his statement, some of which we have done such as work to unify the syrian opposition. of course, that's what we've done for many months, and they have been unified. and to the extent that that can be practical acleeved in the national coalition, that is the group we have recognized as the legitimate representatives of the syrian people. they may not be, i don't suppose any opposition or any political grouping will be perfect in our eyes in this country or any other country, but i don't believe that there will be a better attempt or a greater success at unifying the syrian opposition than the national coalition. m some other things that he was recommending i have to say would be wonderful if they could be
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achieved such as russian and chinese agreement to impose an arms embargo of the whole world on syria. of course, we would support that. but i have to say and, of course, we will go over all this ground with the russians again at the meetings that i've said will take place this afternoon and next week, there is no prospect that i've seen of russia agreeing to such an arms embargo. and so it's a good thing to wish for, but in practical, diplomatic terms there is no possibility at the moment of that being achieved. and that is the background to the decisions that we have to take. there are many things that would be far preferable that an immediate agreement would be reached straight away on a negotiated political transition in syria, and, of course, he asks quite rightly about the how serious we should take the offers to negotiate. and i certainly believe having talked to the president of the
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national coalition last week that his offer not only is very sincere, he would love it to be taken up. and that he really means that he will negotiate with members of the regime. without firing systems on the departure of assad. but the insistence by president assad such as in this weekend interview, the regime is ready to negotiate is something we've heard for two years and has never turned into actual substance. of course, we will discuss with mr. brahimi again this afternoon whether those statements can be used to bring both sides closer together. that's part of his job to try to do that. and, but the evidence over the last two years is that in current circumstances offers to negotiate by the regime are not sip sere and are not followed up and do not lead to the sort of progress we all want to see. and so it is against that
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background of the diplomatic deadlock, the political stalemate while tens of thousands of people die that i argue that we have to do what we can. yes, in a very cautious and considered way and a very clearly thought out way to try to change that situation and to try to save human lives. as best we can working, of course, at all times with our part nevers and our ally -- partners and our allies unincluding in the arab world. and there is a meeting of the foreign ministers of the arab league today. and we will continue to use every diplomatic effort. but this is the situation i've described and that he has described is not one in which our policy can remain static. he's quite right to say that the international community has been an abject failure collectively. the united nations security council has not shouldered its responsibilities. and we've tried many times to put that right. our resolutions have been
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vetoed, and we have been working in the last month since mr. brahimi's last briefing to the council to find a new common way forward in the security council. again, we will discuss this with the russians in the coming hours, but this has not emerged in a month of discussions behind the scenes in new york. so we all have to ask ourself toes given that situation, are we going to hold our policy completely static, or are we going to show we are prepared to change as the situation deteriorates? reluctantly, perhaps. cautiously, at all times. and i target we must be prepared to show that increased level of support for the opposition and that it has to take practical form if we're to exert any pressure on the regime and, indeed, on russia as well to successfully negotiate about this. and the parameters of what we're talking about are, i hope, clearly set out in the statement i've given because they are set
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out clearly in the amendment to the e.u. arms embargo. it is amended, not lifted. the arms embargo remains in place. these are specific exemptions for nonlethal military equipment and for technical assistance for the protection of civilians, and i've just given some examples in my statement of what that means in practice. as to the future, the e.u. sanctions have now been rolled over with that amendment for three months, and so there will be a further discussion in may about the renewal of such sanctions. and the government will form then, the house will be able to form its view, every honorable member will be able to form their view of what we should do in whatever decision we have arrived at in may about further amendments if they are necessary to the embargo. so i think the parameters are clear, the policy is clear, and what i want to make clear today is its direction is clear which is we must be prepared to do more in a situation of such
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slaughter and of such suffering and that a policy, a more static policy would not measure up to the depravity of this situation -- the depravity of this situation. >> [inaudible] >> i regret to say that i cannot see how any of them will have any serious prospect of reducing the length of this conflict and preventing the massacre of tens of thousands of more syrians. will the foreign secretary accept that until such time as the syrian opposition have the military equipment that will enable them to defeat the assad regime and thereby bring the conflict to an end earlier than would otherwise be the case, we will see a continuation of tens of thousands of people being killed, and the extremists in the opposition will benefit from that delay? what would the foreign secretary
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have to be persuaded of to accept that military support to the opposition in a controlled and responsible way is, indeed, necessary? >> well, i think what i, in fact, most of the house would have to be persuaded of is that there was absolutely no alternative remaining. and my right honorable friend has put the case, put the case for a long time, actually, for us to go much further than i have said today, for the actual arming of the opposition movements in syria by western countries. um, the difficulties of that are once that the right honorable gentleman, the shadow foreign secretary referred to, and also, of course, we have to recognize that the conflict is already militarized in syria. opposition groups do have access to substantial quantities of weapons, and those weapons are already reaching, are already
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there inside syria. there is such a flow of weapons. so i think it is right for the development of our policy to be graduated, for us to show our readiness to deliver increased assistance, the willingness of european countries and the united states to amend our policy as the, if the situation continues the deteriorate. but we have to do that in a way that commands general support, and we have to do it in a way that poses the least danger to the increased militarization of the conflict, and that's why i think this is the right balance to strike rather than to move to the position my right honorable friend has consistently advocated. >> mr. jack straw. >> thank you, mr. speaker. would the foreign secretary say that a fair summary of the position we've reached is that we are now providing or every kind of assistance to the military forces of the
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opposition short of explosives, guns and bullets that actually do the killing? and i have no objections to that. i think it's essential. but would he also acknowledge that in my judgment he's right not to rule out the option of direct lethal military supplies, the strategic, diplomatic consequences of any such decision and the degree to which we could, frankly, get bogged down in a kind of cold war, proxy war many that situation really needs to be thought through very carefully, indeed, before you make a positive decision? >> yes, i very much agree with the right honorable gentleman. he accurately characterizes the position, although perhaps putting it too strongly to say we're providing every kind of assistance short of heath -- lethal. we'll provide assistance of that nature that is for the protection of civilians, and that is an important
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requirement, and we will absolutely, we will interpret that exactly. it has to be for the protection of civilians. so he went a bit too far in his characterization to have the position. but he is right, of course, and for the reasons i was just speaking about a moment ago it would be a further, and it would be a bigger stance to say we are sending lethal equipment. and we have taken no decision to do that, and we have no current plan to do that. but it is necessary, of course, to be clear that in a situation of this gravity and of this, of the possible implications of the peace of the whole region we can't rule out options. we can't definitively rule it out, and that was the thrust of his question. >> [inaudible] campbell. >> my right honorable friend gives a compelling analysis of the deteriorating situation in syria, and the measures he announced should be not only accepted, should be welcomed by
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the house so far as they're designed to alleviate suffering and loss of life. but as we approach the tenth anniversary of the mistaken military action against saddam hussein, does he understand that there are many of us in the house or who are concerned lest we might drift towards something that could be described as military intervention? >> well, i'm grateful to my right honorable friend for the measures that i've announced to be welcomed by the house, and, of course, welcome that support. and, yes, i absolutely understand that after more than a decade of conflict in different ways people are always anxious about new conflict. that doesn't mean, however, we can stick our heads in the sand, that we can ignore new conflicts that have risen in the world that can affect us for all the reasons i have described. it does mean that our response to them has to be very intelligent, has to be very well calculated. and i think we can say quite
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clearly on, answering the heart of his question, there's no western government that's advocating military intervention, military intervention of the western nation or of any nations into the conflict in syria. the discussion is entirely focused on the degree of assistance that cannons should be delivered to the opposition inside syria. that's what the discussion is centered on rather than on an external military intervention. >> [inaudible] >> mr. speaker, will he accept that the logical next step of the strategy which he's been pursuing now for over six monthsnot more is to arm -- months if not more is to arm the opposition? and i think it's profoundly mistaken. he's eloquently condemned and carried the whole house every time he's made a statement these last six months, the horror, the
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par barety of the assad regime. just going for regime change in what is a civil war with a shia/sunni conflict there, a reincarnation of the cold war as well is not going to ever achieve its objective. what he should be doing is instead of just promoting the opposition's call for negotiations, you should actually test assad's willingness to negotiate expressed over the weekend, test it to destruction. and he's not doing that. he's pursuing a failed strategy, a monumental failure of diplomacy, and it's making the situation worse. >> here, here. >> well, the right honorable gentleman doesn't really help his case in the way that he describes the government's position. and, of course, it very much follows from what i've been saying in answer to the shadow foreign secretary that we believe the apparent offer to negotiate by president assad must be it'sed, absolutely. so we will certainty do that, and the right honorable
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gentleman and i will agree strongly on that. you would have to think if he was of in government today that if that doesn't work and over the last two years it hasn't worked, then what else do we do? and -- well, he says from a sedentary position it hasn't been tried, it's been tried countless times. kofi annan went to damascus countless times. every possibility has been given to the regime to negotiate, and they have never entered into a sip sere or meaningful -- sincere or meaningful situation. that being the case, it is not adequate to watch slaughter on this scale and say we will stick our heads in the sand about it. it is important to have a foreign policy that relieves humanitarian suffering and upholds human rights. and i would have thought that was something the right honorable gentleman would always have been in favor of. >> mr. richard ottoway. >> the foreign secretary's position in not supplying
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weapons to the rebels, it is perfectly clear that someone is supplying weapons to the rebels at present, and isn't the -- [inaudible] will end up fighting against a shia-backed militants backed by iran, lebanon and iraq sometime in the future? >> um, well, of course the increased sectarian nature of the conflict is one of our great concerns. that is the reason why we have to do everything we can to, everything we can reasonably do to shorten the conflict. because that will only get worse as this goes on. the conflict in syria is already militarized, as my honorable friend says, weapons are being obtained by all the factions fighting in syria including by the military council working with the national coalition. but i feel the longer it goes on, the more it will have a sectarian nature, and the more there will be opportunities for extremists to take hold and,
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therefore, giving our assistance to moderate forces forces and no extremist forces is one of the ways in which we can try to shape this situation in a more sensible direction. >> [inaudible] >> what consideration, if any, is being given to the possibility of implementing a no-fly zone? >> well, a no-fly zone is sometimes advocated, including at international meetings. but i think the greatest difficulty with a no-fly zone is that, of course, it is a response of a totally different nature. it is a military intervention. it is what we have been talking about and many honorable members have been warning against. it would require military force externally on a very substantial scale. now, a good argument of principle can be made for that and of relieving humanitarian suffering by doing whatever is
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necessary. but the willingness of nations around the world to implement such a military intervention is limited for understandable reasons and, indeed, such a no-fly zone, i think, could only in practice be done with the full participation of the united states of america. and so there are major practical difficulties in doing it. what we must not get into is saying that there are protected areas, that there are humanitarian corridors and then not being able to protect people. there is a sad and tragic history of those things, and so we should only take the step the honorable lady is talking about if the world, the international community was truly ready to bring that about. >> [inaudible] >> thank you very much, mr. speaker. my right honorable friend, mr. speaker, is quite right when he says that syria is being shielded by some countries in the united nations, not least, of course, we know that russia had the opportunity to bring
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about some sanctions early on in the united nations security council. could i ask my right honorable friend to start talking to his counterparts in the european union and, indeed, in the united states to actually try and say to the russians if you don't want to take part of this, you get on the ground, you do this. and if the russians refuse to take that course of action, are willing to stand by and let tens of thousands of people to be slaughtererred, then we should work with our european partners and the u.s. and say we're not going to come to your country to showcase your country in the world cup in 2016. 2020, sorry. >> right. my honorable friend, we must put every, use every art of persuasion we know in our talks with our colleagues in russia. and i can assure him that we do that. the shadow foreign secretary argued that we must put the case to russia about the growth of extremism in syria and so on.
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and we do. i have lost count of the number of occasions that i and other western ministers have put the case to our russian counterparts that everything russia most fears in syria is more likely to come true the longer the conflict goes on, including the rise of international terrorism and instability in the whole region. they, clearly, have a different analysis. we haven't had any meeting of minds on that. i'm not a great fan of sporting sanctions, i have to say, and as a country that just hosted to olympics, we have a good, well-established position on that, but we will use every other art of persuasion in dealing with russia. >> mr. nigel dobbs. >> the assad regime is clearly barbarous -- [inaudible] but does the foreign secretary understand the concerns of many of our constituents who read issues about atrocities and war
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crimes of the rule of al-qaeda and who express concerns about support and help that will be going for good and proper reasons that have been set out in good faith and helping people who are deeply hostile to western interests and also equally guilty of some terrible crimes against humanity? >> yes, of course. people are right to be concerned about any atrocities or any opportunity for international terrorism of to take hold in a new place. now, that's one of the reasons why we with cannot just turn away from this crisis. but it's also why, and this is another of his questions, the assistance we give must be very carefully thought out and monitored. and, of course, the all the assistance i have talk about, all the equipment i've talked about is nonlethal. we monitor to the best of our ability its use, and if it was misused or fell into the hands of groups we did not intend it
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for, that would have a serious impact on our willingness to provide such further assistance in the future. but i do want to stress that while people, of course, read about and we are concerned about in the way i've described the opportunity for extreme u.s.es to take -- extremists to take hold, the great majority of the people who are involved even in the fighting in syria from what we can see and tell and certainly the opposition leaders that i meet are people who sincerely want a future for their country that has nothing to do with extremism and or or record im. and we must not -- and terrorism. and we must not leave those people feeling abandoned by the world. >> dr. julian lewis. >> unfortunately, the record of moderates in standing up against extremists in such situations isn't all that great. does the foreign secretary accept that our sworn enemies, al-qaeda, are fighting on the side of the opposition and that, therefore, our concern is that if and when the appalling assad
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regime is overthrown as the government bushes, its chemical -- wishes, its chemical weapons stocks will fall into al-qaeda's hands? what practical guarantee can the government give us that that will not happen? i asked this question on monday, it wasn't satisfactorily answered, that's why i'm asking it again. >> well, no one, mr. speaker, can give any guarantee. this is why a political transition is needed in syria. this is why what should happen is an orderly transition. because there are, certainly, there are in syria terrible weapons, chemical and biological weapons. and that's why i think it's important to be clear that there is no military-only solution, whatever one's point of view to the situation in syria. and so those chemical weapons are best safeguarded in a peaceful transition. that's why we have to keep up
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the argument. but without giving additional assistance to the moderate elements of the opposition, if we were not to do that, we would be reducing rather than enhancing the prospects for such an orderly transition. >> mr. mike gates. >> thank you, mr. speaker. isn't the reality that it would be more secure and more in our enters to have a no-fly zone than to arm the opposition? because we can keep control of the equipment in a no-fly zone, and we can't if we hand it over to jihadist groups? but isn't it also the reality that the united states administration and some neighboring countries including turkey are against a no-fly zone and, therefore, we're not able to do it? >> well, to have a no-fly zone -- by the way, just to be clear, i've not announced arming the opposition, so this is something different. this is increasing the level of assistance we give to the op
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suggestion, and it was non-- opposition, and it was nonlethal equipment. but he is putting the case for an external military intervention rather than moving to any policy in the future of lethal equipment, supporting heath call equipment going into syria. there is a respectable case for that. but i made the point to his honorable friend earlier that to do that there would have to be the willingness on part of a large part of the international community, almost certainly including the united states, to do that. there would have to be that willingness so that we were not making a false promise to people of safety. syria is a country that continues to have strong air defenses with very modern equipment, and the implementation of a no-fly zone would be a very large military undertaking. and so it's important that those who advocate, and bear that many many -- bear that in mind. >> sir general powell.
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>> however distressing the picture we see on our television, and it is indeed diss stressing, i'm extremely concerned that the united kingdom's hand is being drawn ever closer into this mangle, and i share all the concerns and say what confidence does the foreign secretary have in his belief that these what he calls, i think, the moderate and democratic forces can be assisted and will, therefore, be in charge of a postconflict syria? because if he's not confident, then what we will be faced with is more bloody jihadists. and i hope my honorable friend will completely rule out the use of britain's armed forces who are already greatly overstretched. >> well, what i'm confident about, i fully understand my honorable friend's concern, and is that giving support, giving the active support of the kind that i've described to that
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moderate and democratic opposition is the best with way to help insure that this they are the ones who are successful. their chances of success will be less in standing up to extremists, our honorable friend rightly pointed out that very often the moderate forces who lose out to extremists in these situations, their chances will be less the longer this goes on and theless support they receive from outside. so we have to make a choice about when we are prepared to give that support. and i think it's the right choice for the united kingdom to increase the level of support to people who we would be prepared to see succeed. >> mr. jeremy corbin. >> thank you, mr. speaker. the situation in syria is, obviously, appalling, and the humanitarian crisis is absolutely devastating. but at the end of every war, it requires a political solution of some sort. could he tell us what serious negotiations are upside taken with saudi arabia and qatar who
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are fundamentally the funders of the opposition forces in syria and what serious engagement is being with the goth of iran particularly on bringing about some kind of comprehensive peace negotiation and peace process? because without that there will be more suffering, more deaths and more difficulties for everybody. >> well, the honorable gentleman makes a fair point in that regional powers were able to agree among themselves about the situation and about a solution, that would be an enormous step forward. just as if the fife permanent members of the u.n. security could council were able to agree, it would be a vital step forward. there have been such attempts. and, in fact, through last autumn the egyptian government convened a group of egypt and saudi arabia and iran and turkey to consider the situation together and see if they could come to an agreed way forward. i have to tell him that that
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group did not come to an agreed way forward. that's not to say such a group can't be revised in the future. we have absolutely no problem with such a group being assembled. it can be revived. but it didn't succeed, and it didn't succeed pause iran has not -- because iran has not been prepared to come to an agreed way forward with other countries in the region. it doesn't mean it shouldn't be tried again. >> bob stewart. >> thank you, mr. speaker. in this civil war, foreign secretary, it seems there is a military stalemate between two sides who have military forces. under those circumstances and considering each side claims that it wants to negotiate, is there any chance that we can put all our efforts into getting a ceasefire arranged so that in that ceasefire when the guns stop and civilians stop being killed, we might actually be
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able to use politics to solve the situation? >> here, here. >> in this, again, is a very good thought although, again, we have -- it has been tried. it should be tried again. of course, in any negotiated way forward a ceasefire would be a very important element of the early part of such negotiations. my honorable friend may recall that last summer the u.n. envoy pa himmy -- brahimi proposed a ceasefire, and there was some hope for a short time that it would be implemented. there were many efforts to implement it in parts of of syria. but it broke down after a very short time, within days the ceasefire had completely broken down. and, again, that doesn't mean that shouldn't be top of the agenda of negotiations. but as my honorable friend can gather, we don't have successful negotiations for the moment, much as though we will discuss
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that with mr. brahimi this often. >> ms. stewart. >> thank you, mr. speaker. could the foreign secretary tell us the discussions he's had with turkey and what turkey's attitude is towards easing the arms embargo. >> turkey is very supportive of the change that the european union has made in the arms embargo, and indeed, turkey has a forward-leaning approach, let's just say, to this crisis. and and the turkey foreign minister was here, he would not only say what i have said, but a great deal more about the need for international support to the coalition. i'll be meeting him again tomorrow here in london when he come toss the friends of yemen meeting. but turkey's certainly very, or very sportive of this announcement and of the change to e.u. policy. >> mr. bernard jenkin. >> thank you, mr. speaker. i welcome my friend's right
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honorable statement. i note that he does not rule out any option, and in specific answer to my honorable friend's question, he does not rule out military intervention. while no country is yet advocating that, if syria is meant to be part of a primary interest in our national security strategy, are we quipped to deal with this crisis, and to what extent should he be talking to his opposite member, my right honorable friend the defense secretary, about what contingencies should be laid and, indeed, what additional expenditure is required in order to give us the capacity to at least influence the security situation around problem? >> well, of course, the defense secretary and i discussed the whole range of international affairs on an almost continuous basis, and we make the decision about our policy on syria in the national security council or in the cabinets.
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we discussed in this yesterday at the cabinet, and the defense secretary and i are very much of the same mind and work closely together on all contingencies. the minister of defense has planned for, as my honorable friend knows, for a great range of contingencies. it's not helpful the to speculate, for ministers to speculate about those contingencies, and i stress as i've made clear earlier that we're not calling for, nor are we planning a military intervention. the discussion in the interor national community is ability the -- is about the degree of support rather than an external intervention. so we will plan for our contingencies, but that is the context and the background to any military role in this crisis. >> ms. louise helmand. >> thank you, mr. speaker. what does the foreign secretary think is the likelihood of chemical weapons being used in sur ya or for -- in syria, or for those weapons to be moved to
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hezbollah in lebanon, destabilizing the wider region? >> we are, as i said in my summit, increasingly concerned about the regime's possible use, possible willingness to use chemical weapons. and we're always concerned, as are many other countries in the region, about the transfer, any transfer of those weapons. to other groups or to other countries in the region. and we send the strong message that i gave if my statement -- in my statement. the president of the united states himself has given a similar strong message about the use of chemical weapons by anybody and including the syrian regime. i think it's very important for them to hear that message or the world will be determined that the individuals responsible are held to account if chemical weapons are used. >> mr. martin woolward. >> i strongly support the foreign secretary's stand on this very difficult issue, and
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will he tell mr. bog canoff this afternoon that with a million fled and as many as 100,000 dead, it stands in comparison with the rwandan genocide which led the international community with responsibility to protect doctrine in the first place and that russia should engage with the forces or face the prospect of a jihadist regime which neither we, nor they would want? >> basically i will tell him that, yes. absolutely. this is part of the argument, and as i said earlier, russia is concerned, rightly concerned about international terrorism. russians have experience with that themselves. but the, if this situation goes on for many more months or years, well, then we are going to see a much greater opening for such international terrorism. and it is, indeed, it is becoming a human catastrophe of immense proportions. so my honorable friend can be confident that i will make this
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argument in the robust terms he would want me to to my russian counterpart. >> [inaudible] >> mr. speaker, can i thank the right honorable gentleman for advanced copy of the statement? i do welcome the emphasis in his statement on humanitarian aid. i'm sure we'd all agree that it's time now for all nations to focus on a nonviolent resolution if at all possible. clearly, that's obvious. but yesterday israel said, threatened the security council as the right honorable gentleman knows that it cannot stand idle, as it puts it, if the syrian civil war spills over onto its border. now, it's a very serious position, and i'm sure the right honorable gentleman's aware of that, and we need to be doing everything we can to provide further confirmation, i think. >> absolutely. the honorable member is absolutely quite right. the danger of, that the spread regionally, the spread into other countries in different ways of this crisis is one of the reasons we cannot just watch
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it develop. we have to work out the best constructive approach, difficult though these choices are. to trying to push this crisis in the right direction at that dirr than drift in the wrong direct. and, indeed, any of the neighboring countries will take action if their borders are infringed, of course. we have agreed to the stawtioning of patriot missiles by nato in turkey. lebanon has been very concerned about clashes on its border. the jordanian and iraqi border is a tense place, and basketball that is even before we consider the golan heights and the iraqi border as well. so the regional dimension to this is of increasing and serious concern, and that's one of the reasons for this package of policy changes and announcements that aye -- i've given today. >> mr. edward lee. >> may i strongly reject the
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neo-con policies and ideas emanating from are our right honorable friend from kensington? what could be gained by our selling arms in this cauldron? have we forgotten the disastrous policy of arming the rebels in afghanistan? have we forgotten the atrocities being committed against christians in syria? what's wrong with basing our policy on life, not death? >> i've never considered myself a neo-con and don't use that, don't describe myself as that as foreign secretary. our policy must be very carefully calibrated, and my honorable friend draws attention to situations where, which have gone seriously wrong from the point of view of the international community. we've also, though, got to bear in mind if we look at the western fallinglands in the 1990s, the isolation of
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muslims in many parts of the world are a policy which for too long denied people any ability in an extreme situation to protect themselves. and so i think our policy, the policy that i have announced of doing what we can to protect civilian life is a necessary and proportionate response. >> mr. jeffrey robinson. >> mr. speaker, the foreign secretary's well aware there's no shortage of lethal weapons in syria at all. there's very little case for us supplying it and, indeed, putting it quite frankly, supplying four wheel drive vehicles as well as body armor to the opposition isn't necessarily driving around in this total personal immunity isn't best characterized -- [inaudible] credit for our policy or the civilians who continue to live amidst appalling suffering and danger. will you carry the whole house -- [inaudible] is a massive increase in our
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human tear assistance, and if you could find european partners into doing that, that's where his efforts ought to be directed. >> well, the right honorable gentleman can be pleased in that case because we have announced enormous increases in our humanitarian assistance. my right honorable friend who was here earlier announced when she attended the kuwait conference at the end of january a vast increase, a 50 million pound increase taking it to 140 million pounds. we're one of the biggest donors in the world to try to alleviate humanitarian suffering. i think he should be when he quotes the list of what i say we will be sending, i hope he will quote the full list about medical supplies, about water purification, measures that will help prevent the spread of disease so that the need to alleviate humanitarian suffering is this right at the top of our minds, and it is the, it is what britain is devoting by far the
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greatest resources to in all the effort we're putting into this crisis. >> mr. chrispin -- blunt. >> following any statement he was absolutely right to draw attention to the jihadists committing atrocities using explosive devices including car bombs. i have a british-syrian constituent who is on the verge of defying british citizenship. he has immediate family who have been killed by such a car bomb. she now wants to bring her parents to the u.k. simply to take up some respite from what is happening there. they're faced with an incredibly difficult journey in order to simply make the application to come here which now seems extremely difficult, um, even if they're able to succeed, even if they got here. if the circumstances are as i have tribed, um -- described, um, would he make clear that in those is circumstances an
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application for the parents to come here is the kind of thing that would merit his support? >> um, well, as my honorable friend knows, he's described the case very well, but such decisions are for the home secretary. and i can't say within all circumstances we will be opening doors for people to come to the united kingdom. there are, there's now a million refugees in other countries, as i said, but it is the responsibility of those countries that receive the refugees to look after them with international support, and i pay tribute to the generosity of the people of lebanon and turkey and jordan and iraq and what they're doing. and we're doing our best to assist with that. so i think that is the prime way for refugees to be assisted. but his question is a reminder that there are not only four million out of the population of 21 million who are displaced or are in desperate need, many of the remaining people are in
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extremely dangerous and stressful conditions and unable to pursue normal life in any way. so it is, it is affecting the great majority of the whole country. >> hugh bailey. >> the difference between factions in the opposition only makes the extremists stronger than they otherwise would be. but it also makes the process of staging negotiations extremely difficult, and the ability to determine who will be a government to syria when the regime falls absolutely impossible. so what is our government doing and allies doing to get greater coherence and common purpose within the moderate opposition? >> secretary. >> there is much greater coherence, mr. speaker, than for a long time. it's not surprising that it's difficult in these circumstances, of course, to bring together something like the national coalition. but it is, it is very much the best attempt that can reasonably
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be made to bring together those moderate and democratic forces. and it is there now to be negotiated with. quite often over the last two years it has been the refrain of some of the other countries on the security council or of the regime, well, we want to negotiate, but we don't have someone to negotiate with. now they do not have that excuse. the national coalition is there for them to negotiate with, and it is willing to negotiate. so the onus is now on the regime to show that it can seriously negotiate. >> mr. john barron. >> mr. speaker, i urge caution. human rights have said by arming the rebels we could be arming the terrorists of the future as well as escalating the violence. but would i bring the foreign secretary back to his comments over the weekend which did clearly indicate a change in thinking when it came to nonlethal support. to what extent were his comments
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a reflection of the fact we now get reports that president obama is thinking about changing his policy on this issue? >> i'm not aware of any inconsistency in what i've said. in fact, throughout i've said we don't rule out any options. i've said that for two years. and it would be a strange thing, indeed, as the situation got worse to start ruling out options when we've not done that at any period. so that's what i said today, and that's what i said at the weekend. but what we're actually proposing to do is what i've set out today, and my honorable friend will know from the announcement that secretary kerry made that it is closely related to what the united states has announced, they have announced $60 million of additional practical support but nonheath call support -- lethal support to the coalition, and i have announced $20 million to use a comparative figure that the united kingdom will provide. so our policy is closely aligned with the united states, but neither country is advocated the
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policies which my right honorable friend is so strongly opposed. >> roy. >> would the syrian rebels use armored vehicles during battle, wouldn't that be seen as the united kingdom giving lethal assistance? >> such vehicles are nonlethal quilt. that's how they are defined -- equipment, that's how they are defined. that applies as well to body armor. but the -- [inaudible] could advocate a different policy of not trying to save lives in syria. that is what he is suggesting in his question, that we say, no, we will not try to save lives, we will not send people who desperately ask for this kind of assistance even though they are slaughtered in huge numbers. well, that is his choice to advocate that policy, but i don't think that is either responsible or would give moral authority to our policy. >> newton. >> thank you. i'm very concerned for my constituents whose syrian
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christian family living in aleppo are being persecuted for their faith and their friends mudderred by the jihad u.s.es the secretary of state has mentioned. so what sort of assurance can be given to us that any british support is not helping rebels who are also islamic fundamentalists? >> um, this is a very important point, and it's important to stress as i did earlier to other questions that our purport is to the moderate and democratic forces in syria. and it's one of the reasons, of course, all our support i've set out is also nonlethal. but it also is important for us to monobest we can that -- monitor best we can the use of that equipment. if we thought that equipment was at any stage being used by people we had not intended it for, then our attitude would, of course, have to change dramatically. >> mr. paul flynn.
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>> the house is deeply united on the humanitarian aid. we're deeply divided on the oversimplified view of the foreign secretary who on this complex civil war he couldn't bring himself to mention the front who a jihadist group and a vital part of the opposition who have been accused of some of the most blood thirsty massacre of civilians, can he give an absolute guarantee that before we commit military equipment or personnel to syria there'll be a debate and a vote in this house to avoid us repeating what we've done so often in trying to punch our way, we dive beyond our responsibilities somewhere well, the honorable member, i'm sure, has been listening carefully and will know i've not advocated sending military equipment or personnel. and, of course, we have our conventions of which he and i are strong supporters in this house that when we take decisions in the house, and we will observe all of those
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conventions. but he will also have to defer with his long concern for humanitarian issues whether it would be right to be completely static in the face of this situation, and that is the alternative to what i have described. everybody, everybody is concerned, rightly, across the house about the humanitarian situation. but i don't believe it is responsible for policy to sit still in the face of a rapidly worsening situation. >> mr. james morris. >> thank you, mr. speaker. the foreign secretary or mentioned the increasing evidence of the involvement of the iranian regime in the arming of the assad regime. would he agree with me that there might be opportunities to put pressure on the iranian regime to desist in the context of the ongoing negotiations around the nuclear, the iranian nuclear program? >> well, i'm not sure the
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negotiations provide that opportunity to put that pressure. those negotiations are very focused on the nuclear program, and i reported to the house yesterday during foreign office questions the progress, but it's very early stage that was made in those negotiations that was made inial matty last week. i hi the pressure should differd the a different pressure, and that is that the world knows about these activities, that in the end in the syria it will be proved that the assad regime is doomed and that there'll be many people in syria who will not want to forgive iran for intervening with, in all the ways that i've described, including with armed personnel in what is happening in syria. >> jenny chapman. >> thank you, mr. speaker. how concerned is the foreign secretary at the u.n. high commissioner's comments this morning on refugees that they
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had underestimated severely the number of refugees that would be leaving syria, and they have barely 25% of the resources that they needed to deal with the now million people leaving the country? what is he doing with colleagues to make sure the lack of preparedness isn't allowed to continue? .. >> in supplying the additional 50 million pounds, my right honorable friend, the development secretary, took out total humanitarian support to nearly 140 million pounds. we are very good at not only pledging that, but delivering that as well. and not only saying we will write the check, but writing the check as well. and not all countries are as good. the $1.5 billion was pledged, now we have of to make sure other countries deliver on that
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promise. we are raising that. i've had many bilateral meetinga with other nations involved inv this over the next 36 hours, and we are raising that with each of these countries, that we all noo haveun to deliver on the pledges we have made. >> mr. raymond kishti. >> thank you, mr. speaker. the united states was one of the last leading countries to recognize the opposition. oppos. is there now and agree to join policy by united kingdom and the u.s.a.? is their joint policies? >> there is a joint policy to my honorable friend will notice that what secretary kerry announced last week, very close to what i am announcing this week. discuss it with them on several occasions last week in london. we have a very similar view of both of the gravity of the crisis and the need for increased action of the kind that i have been asked today in order to try to speed and
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resolution of the crisis. so he can be assured that london and washington are very closely online on it. >> john cryer. >> thank you, mr. speaker. i've heard many statements like this in years gone by, and most of the time would end up being involved in a quagmire from which we cannot extricate ourselves. i take it you that now we can't have a full debate in government with the possibility of a boat. >> i think it's important for the honorable member to distinguish situations where we, britain, may be involved in a quagmire where we are helping other people to try to get out of a quagmire. and that is what we're trying to do with this sort of assistance. we cannot turn aside requests for assistance, but, of course, in getting, i think this is the eighth statement i've given about syria, i'm always willing to come to the house and debate it.
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>> [inaudible] >> thank you, mr. speaker. the foreign secretary but impact on the wider region. could become it on jordan, a key strategic ally with very limited resources that is facing a huge influx of refugees from syria? >> i pay tribute to the people and the government of jordan. i visited last summer the refugee reception areas, just inside the jordanian border. since then, the numbers involved have got much larger. there are over 312,000 refugees in jordan, most of them residing with host communities and families, but some are in camps. the jordanians have done a magnificent job. we discuss regular with them how we can help further. we're meeting with foreign minister of jordan tomorrow, and we will be discussing this further than. >> dr. phil fully. >> thank you, mr. speaker.
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the late father of the current president of syria, a very ruthless and murders individual did have the reputation of doing what he said he was going to do. by contrast his son is a fundamentally weak individual surrounded by stronger -- to what extent does defence secretary agree with me that the personal weakness the president of syria will make a diplomatic solution if not impossible very unlikely? >> my honorable friend is right that this is one of the -- describing an obstacle. there are of course, not only the president of city but other members of his family close involved, including his brother in the power structure in syria. and, of course, an entire system of finance and power and reward, an entire premed which president assad is simply the top. so a solution to this, a political diplomatic solution
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requires people much further down that david to agree that it is a good idea. that makes a very complex. that is one of the reasons of the negotiations by the regime are not actually followed up by serious negotiations. so it is indeed one of the obstacles. >> [inaudible] very bleak picture of a dangerous civil war with a toxic mix of iranian involvement, possibly al qaeda, and other extremists. even that, what assessments have the british government made of the alleged involvement of hezbollah and the conflict in syria? and for the potential for regional instability that would flow from that? >> there is some, there's potential that we have discussed for regional, including in lebanoncome and including in relations to hezbollah.
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and one of the dangers is of clashes on the lebanese border, the south of lebanon between hezbollah and the free syrian army or other elements of the syrian opposition. and let a lone syrian regime forces as well. so that is one of the dangers. i don't have any other evidence i can quote about hezbollah, but that in itself is a great danger. and is one of the reasons we are assisting with the stability of lebanon. in lebanon two weeks ago i announced additional british funding for the lebanese armed forces, who are a very important part of trying to keep that border peaceful, including our direct help of a construction of border observation post. and, of course, everything else that we are doing to try to bring about a resolution. >> my right honorable friend has always been clear that we've tried to stop the killing and find a peaceful solution. it a peaceful solution can be
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fined, if assad stays in power, would reveal to accept the to or have we reached a stage where a precursor to the 20 deal, assad moscow? >> it's not for us to decide he was in power from any other country, including in syria. it is of course the position of the syrian national coalition, of all opposition groups that they want the departure of president assad. but we will not be more like the syrian opposition than the syrian opposition. he has said he is willing to negotiate. that is appreciation we should support. but it is impossible to see, for any observer of these events, to see president assad ever again being able to unify our govern his country. we say he should go, but the opposition has offered to negotiate. that is a right. >> it is clear that the house
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shares the humanitarian urgency that the foreign secretary has taken in so well, but many also are concerned that that urgency should not entail -- a real agenda of some of the opposition forces. cannot acknowledge particular principles that have been expressed by the foreign secretary today? our foreign policy is inseparable from upholding human rights, protecting and it supporting international law? we must assist a democratic forces here in dire need of help that a been abandoned by the international community. we cannot look the other way with international law and human rights. when will we see those principles manifest and the governments engagement and other situations? >> well, they are. that may take us wider than the subject, absolutely wider than the subject. i welcome in china what the honorable member says. and, of course, this is the object of our policy more
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broadly in foreign policy. we are heavily engaged in conflict prevention, conflict resolution in somalia, in yemen, in sudan, and in a work that we do now to promote an arms trade treaty, to pursue my own initiative on preventing sexual violence and conflict. united kingdom, the united kingdom, continued has a strong record in conflict prevention >> several live events to tell you about today. the senate judiciary committee will work on several bills dealing with gun control and safety. the measures, including an assault weapons ban and an expanded background check system. that's live on c-span at 10 a.m. eastern. also at 10 on c-span3 president obama's nominee for interior secretary, sally jewel, will
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testify before the senate energy and natural resources committee. ms. jewel has been ceo of the outdoor company rei since 2005. and then on c-span, homeland security secretary janet napolitano testifies at a hearing on cybersecurity. the senate homeland security and commerce committees are considering ways to address cyber threats. that's at 2:30 p.m. eastern. >> original peoples, navy seals, the alamo, our environment and journalism, panels and discussions from this year's tucson festival of books live this weekend on booktv starting saturday at noon eastern with author timothy egan on the photography of edward curtis. at 4:30, katherine bowers on what animals can teach us about health and healing, and sunday live starting at 1 p.m. eastern,
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rajiv chandrasekaran on afghanistan. panels and authors from the tucson festival of books, part of booktv live this weekend on c-span2. >> the united nations security council may vote tomorrow on a resolution to um pose stronger sanctions -- impose stronger or sanctions against north korea because of recent nuclear tests. many return north korea is threatening to cancel the 1953 ceasefire that ended the korean war. this week the house foreign affairs committee held a hearing on north korea's nuclear program and the effectiveness of u.s. and u.n. sanctions. this is two hours. >> this hearing on north korea will come to order. on february the 12th, north korea conducted its third test,
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its most powerful test to date, a nuclear weapon -- a smaller weapon because north korea is working on miniaturizing its weapon in order to place it on the head of an icbm. this followed december's launch of a three-stage intercontinental ballistic missile. so we've had test after test, we've had broken promise after broken promise and successive administrations both republican and democrat have clung to an unrealistic hope that one day north korea will suddenly negotiate away its nuclear program. it's a hope that in 1994 many of our senior members here shared when we passed the nuclear framework agreement, 19 years ago with north korea. but during that whole period of time that we attempted to engage, we found instead that north korea was perfecting their
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weapon, was violating those negotiations. so the approach that we have taken has failed. and three nuclear tests later i think we have to be realistic, we have to find a better turn. alternative. a failed approach to north korea doesn't result many just a more dangerous -- in just a more dangerous situation on the korean peninsula. in it, in fact, has resulted in a more dangerous world. we know that north korea helped build the carbon copy of their program in syria on the wangs of the euphrates -- the banks of the euphrates. we also know that iran has directly benefited from north korea's long-range missile technology. we suspect that they have benefited from the nuclear tests. last month ranking member engel and i were in northeast asia, and it is clear from our
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discussions there that our north korea policy must change. today we will look at the illicit activities that are underwriting north korea's weapons programs. we're going to look at its illicit missile sales abroad, at its meth trafficking. this is the only country in the world that manufactures and then traffics in meth. we're going to look at their counterfeiting of u.s. $100 bills, and we're going to think about the reason why this country has been called soprano state. we'll hear from one witness who will testify that north korea's illicit money-making machinery continues to turn. but it is this dependency by the regime on illicit activities that can, in fact, be exploited. this is the achilles heel x we did this once -- and we did this
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once. in the fall of 2005, the bush administration targeted the macau based banco delta asia for its money laundering role while u.s. money was being counterfeited. they were laundering for north korea. and this led other banks in the region to shun north korean business which finally isolated the regime and cut off its ability to get hard currency. however, after kim jung-il made promises on its nuclear program, the pressure was prematurely lifted. today the current administration has done little to target north korea's illicit activities. instead, the administration has deferred to a policy over at the united nations and has opted for strategic patience. the purpose of today's hearing is to examine how best to
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pressure north korea's ruling elite by systematically restricting their access to that hard currency on which they depend. we'll hear from one witness who has firsthand experience spearheading such an effort. we'll be introducing legislation based on some of the ideas we'll hear today. it is important to realize that we have more options other than to simply rely on beijing to do more. disrupting north korea's illicit activities will place tremendous strain on that country's ruling elite who have done so much harm to the people of north korea. we must go after kim jong un's illicit activities like we went of after organized crime in the united states; identify the network, interdict shipments and disrupt the flow of money. this would sever a key subsidy for north korea's weapons of mass destruction program. for only when the north korean leadership realizes that its
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criminal activities are untenable do prospects for peace and security in northeast asia improve. i will now turn to our ranking member, eliot engel of new york, for his opening comments. >> well, thank you very much, mr. chairman, and i'd like to thank you for calling this timely hearing and for your leadership in addressing the north korean threat. i would also like to say publicly that it was a privilege to travel to the region with you earlier this year to discuss north korea, with top leaders in seoul, tokyo and beijing. the recent nuclear test conducted by the north was a dangerous provocation that raised tensions in northeast asia. it reinforces the fact that pyongyang poses a serious threat to the national security of the united states and our allies in the region. following the test, the house overwhelmingly passed a strong bipartisan resolution authored by chairman royce and myself condemning the north's
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irresponsible action. among other things that resolution called for the united states government to use available legal authorities and resources to defend our country's interests against north korea, north korean illicit activities which is, of course, the topic of today's hearings. north korea's nuclear tests, ballistic missile launches and attacks against south korea have been obvious to the entire world. what has drawn less attention is the fact that north korea engages in a wide array of illicit activities to support its military program and leadership. the north korean regime's criminal conduct including drug smuggling, weapons trafficking, the sale of nuclear and ballistic missile technology to rogue regimes in iran and syria and the counterfeiting of u.s. currency, cigarettes and pharmaceuticals serve as a lifeline to keep itself in power. proceeds from these criminal
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activities are distributed to members of the north korean elite including senior members of the military and are used to finance the top leadership's lifestyle. they're also informed in -- invested in north korea's military programs. i am one of the few members of congress who have been to north korea, and i've been there twice. i visited the capital on both occasions, and i can tell you that the north korean regime would do better to help its own people rather than spend time and money on nuclear weapons and missile technology in defiance of the international community. the north korean regime practices what experts have called criminal sovereignty. in essence, pyongyang uses state sovereignty to protect itself from outside influence and interference while dedicating a part of its government to or carrying out activities in violation of international law and the domestic laws of many other countries.
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for north korea these criminal activities are viewed as necessary to maintain the power of the regime with no regard for the fact that they are corrosive to international law and order. so the question is what steps can we take to combat north korea's illicit activities, and can our efforts to prevent these activities be used to pressure north korea to abandon its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile l programs? now, i just heard on the news this morning that the agreement has been made ostensibly with china to punish north korea for its missile launching nuclear tests. i hope that china will not do what it's done in the past and agree to sanctions and then just erode those sanctions so the sanctions really never took hold. i hope that china will finally understand that the north korean regime is a threat to stability
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in that region of the world and in many regions of the world. because as chairman royce pointed out, korea, north korea is a rogue state helping countries like syria trying the to obtain nuclear weapons and collaborating with iran. i want this committee to know that on this issue there is not a millimeter's worth of difference between the chairman and myself. we both view the north korean regime as a threat and one that needs to be contained. i want to tell you the first time we took the trip to north korea was probably about nine, eight or nine years ago, and one of the first things we noticed in the pyongyang was the billboards that were all across the country. one of the billboards still sticks in my mind. it showed a north korean soldier bayoneting an american soldier in the head, in his helmet.
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and we knew it was an american soldier because on his uniform it said "usa." so the regime is endemically hostile to the united states and warrants watching, and i look forward to our witnesses' testimony. this is really very, very important, and we have many pressing concerns all around the world, but we ought not to forget about the pressing concern with north korea. we ought to stay focused on the region. i thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you, mr. engel. in this morning we're joined by a distinguished panel of experts, dr. david asher is a non, is a senior fellow at the center for a new american security. previously dr. asher served as senior asia adviser at the state department. he was the coordinator for the north korea working group that attacked kim jung-il's illicit activities and finances. dr. sung-yoon lee is a professor at the fletcher school of law
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and diplomacy at tufts university. known for his ability to turn a phrase, he has written extensively on the korean peninsula including a recent piece entitled "don't engage kim jong un, bankrupt him," which appeared in foreign policy magazine recently. ambassador joseph de trani is president of the intelligence and national security alliance. he's served as the special envoy for six-party talks with north korea in 2003. from 2010 to 2012, she was the director of the national counterproliferation center. and without objection the witnesses' full prepared statements will be made part of the record, but i'm going to ask each to summarize your testimony to five minutes, and we'll begin with asher. dr. asher. >> chairman l royce, ranking member engel and other distinguished members of the committee, i want to thank you sincerely or for this opportunity to testify on a
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matter of truly grave concern, the growing nuclear proliferation risk of the north korean regime and the need for a fundamental new policy approach to comprehensively address that threat that north korea poses to asia and the world. in short, our diplomatic efforts which i was part of along with ambassador de trani in the six-party talks have objectively failed. unfortunately, is so have our effort ors to counter the proliferation activity and nuclear procurement of the north korean regime. i believe in the next 24 months north korea's regional and global threat will go from bad to worse. not only do i fear they will deploy nuclear warheads including directly against the united states and our allies, i am concerned that the chances of north korea, porting nuclear weapons -- exporting nuclear weapons to iran is alarmingly high if, indeed, something has
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not already occurred. north korea has one and possibly two nuclear weapons production facilities. with one centrifuge planned alone. with two with it could be 26-37 nuclear weapons. this is on top of the 10-12 weapons that are publicly estimated to already be in north korea's arsenal. north korea does not need 30-40 or 50 nuclear weapons. north korea does need money, and my concern is that the regime needs money this particular as a young regent takes power to cement his position, so solidify his control over the military and pay for his expanding and highly expensive wmd programs which he's been putting on prominent display in the streets of pyongyang during these recent
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parades. the nation that has the money and need for material including enriched uranium most obviously is the government of iran. in mid july 2002, korea's president led a high-level delegation to damascus, syria, for a mysterious purpose. on july 18th an agreement was signed between the government of syria and the government of north korea. in hindsight, this scientific agreement was the keystone commencing the covert nuclear cooperation between north korea, its general bureau of atomic energy and its counterpart, the ssrc inside the syrian government which is in charge of weapons of maas destruction. mass destruction. ominously, president kim young name recently led a similar delegation to iran. almost identical to north korea
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and syria in 2002. the iranian retinue attendant at the ceremony included the minister of industry mine and trade, the defense minister and most ominously, the head of the atomic energy association in iran. they also had high-level discussions on coordinating key strategic issues. we can only guess what those are. it is time to stop the complacency on count orerring and disrupting north korea's machinery and the malevolent regime before serious damage occurs to global security. working closely with our allies, we need to organize and commence a global program, a comprehensive action targeting pyongyang's apparatus, its facilitators, its proxies, its overseas presence. we need to sabotage their nuclear missile programs. we also need to revive an
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initiative identifying and targeting the kim regime's financial lifelines including illicit sources of revenue and overseas financial nest egg spank accounts especially in china -- bank accounts especially in china. trading companies and banks who continue to illegally facilitate access for north korea themselves should be targeted. finally, the united states should commence a program to influence the internal workings of the north korean regimes to undermine the kim dynasty and ultimately lay the groundwork for a change in the regime if it doesn't change fundamentally. bringing about a change will require a top-down, determined effort across the whole of government and among a league of willing foreign partners similar to the initiative i had the opportunity to run. organizing such an initiative will require considerable energy and commitment including oversight of your committee. i appreciate this opportunity to make this testimony before you. thank you. >> thank you. we'll go to mr. lee. >> thank you, mr. chairman,
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members of the committee. sixty years ago today on march 5th, 1953, the soviet leader, stalin, died and the prospects for ending the korean war improved dramatically. and we had a ceasefire agreement signed in july, july 27th, and the past 60 years has been a history in dramatic contrast. south korea has risen to be one of the world's most successful cases on how to build a free and affluent country while north korea has become a model, an exemplary failed state marked by a brutal regime that has maintained power through hereditary succession, extreme internal repression and also military extortion. my point here is that the kim dynasty, the dprk is engaged in a systemic contest for pan-korean legitimacy which is the more legitimate
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representative government representing the entire korean nation. it's a contest that north korea cannot win. hence, north korea associates financial crimes, earnings derived from such activities, nuclear blackmail and repression as a necessary condition to its self-preservation. this odd approach practiced by the regime has created a country that is quite abnormal, i would call it grammatical impropriety not withstanding, uniquely unique. let me illustrate. north korea is the only country in the world, it is the world's sole hereditary communist dynasty. it is the world's only case of an industrialized, urbanized, literate peacetime economy to suffer a famine. it is the world's most cultish, isolated country, albeit one
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with the world's largest military in terms of manpower and defense spending proportionate to its overall population and national income. the result is this abnormal state, one that is able to exercise disproportionate influence in regional politics commensurate with its territorial size, population size, economic power -- exceedingly small economic, political or soft power. and this north korea achieves principally through a strategy of external provocations and internal repression. in short, the leadership in pyongyang will not make concessions on its nuclear and missile programs unless it is confronted with a credible threat that calls into question the need for its continued existence. and the united states is sing harley well -- singularly well equipped to deliver this kind of pressure to the regime.
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this is due to the strength and attractiveness of the u.s. financial system and the pyongyang regime's low threshold for withstanding financial pressure because it is so overly dependent on illicit activities to maintain its own regime. the united states' treasury department should declare the entire north korean government a primary money laundering concern. this would allow treasury to require u.s. banks to take precautionary special measures, substantially restricting foreign individuals, banks and entities from gaining access to the u.s. financial system. treasury could also apply these measures to third-country business partners that finance pyongyang's shadowy economy, and the u.s. should also ask ally governments to apply core responding measures to third -- corresponding measures to
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third-country nationals doing business with korea moreover, the u.s. should expand the designation of prohibited activity to include those furthering north korea's proliferation, illicit activities, cash transactions in excess of $10,000, lethal military equipment transactions and, and the perpetration of crimes against humanity. north korea is the world's leading candidate for indictment for crimes against humanity. such measures would effectively debilitate, present north korean regime with a credible threat that would far surpass what took place against pan codel that asia in -- banco delta asia in 2005. i would urge congress to pass a bill that gives treasury investigative powers and requires the treasury department to investigate reports of suspicious activity, enforce u.n. security council
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resolutions and also clamp down on further perpetration of crimes against humanity. by linking human rights violations with financial sanctions, the united states could deliver a potent threat, a credible threat to the regime. thank you very much. >> thank you, professor lee. >> mr. chairman, ranking member engel, thank you for the invitation, members of the committee. it's an honor being here with you. >> thank you, ambassador. we appreciate your willingness to testify. >> thank you, sir. by way of background, in january 2003 north korea pulled out of the npt, the non-proliferation treaty, and told the iaea and monitors to leave the country. and that was after the united states told north korea that we knew they had a clandestine your rain upyum enrichment program which was in violation of the npt and other commitments they made with the agreed framework.
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we started the six-party process in august of 2003. it was of a two-pronged approach, by way of background. and in 2003 was the first plenary session. we told the north koreans we're looking at denuclearization but also at neuroillicit activities. we're looking at you counterfeiting our $100 bill, counterfeiting pharmaceuticals, getting very, very much involved with the counterfeiting of cigarettes, human rights issues for which we need transparency and you need to make progress on. it was a dual approach. in september 19th, you cited that, sir, september 19th, 2005, we had a joint statement. we had two things on the 19th of september, 2005. we had a joint statement committing north korea to denuclearization in exchange for security assurances, economic assistance and ultimately normalization. the normalization, before we'd even talk about that, they need to make progress on their illicit activities and human rights. and on the same day, the 19th of
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september, on the federal registry treasury moved forward based on, based on section 311 of the patriot act, the predicate being money laundering, and that was what you cited, sir, banco delta asia. the bank froze about $25 million of north korean currency. the impact was immense, because the measures to international financial institutions was very clear. if you do business with north korea and they're involved in money laundering, you could be apecked also. the -- affected also. the north koreans were upset with this for obvious reasons, because as you described, it caused significant pain. that was the model. unfortunately, we went back, unfortunately in the sense that a we went back to negotiations, and we proceeded with negotiations. they eventually got the $25 million back when the banco delta asia was in compliance with our laws, and we moved
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forward. but what happened was what you described, missile launches and nuclear tests in 2006 and 2009, 2012. so we're looking at four launches, three nuclear tests. during this period of time, we had three u.n. security council resolutions looking at sanctioning them. they're moving their money. we have executive orders coming out of treasury, executive order 13382, executive order 13551 which speaks to proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and the supporters where we would sanction those who are involved with wmd proliferation and anyone supporting them, a state, a bank, any entity. so we are looking at that. and commensurate with that, concurrent with that, we're looking at proliferation security initiative. that means the united states with over 90 countries have come together to say if north korea puts anything on the high seas and we have any information indicating that they're proliferating something, they're
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moving something they shouldn't be moving in violationing to security council resolutions, we would interdict those shipments. a number of these vessels were turned around at sea. a few of them were going to myanmar, and they went back to port in north korea because of the determination to do something with that. now, north korea persists. north korea persists with their human rights issues, and they persist with illicit activities, but they know very, very cleary if they want any -- clearly if they want any progress with the united states, certainly with the united states, illicit activities have to go by the wayside. this is causing pain, and i concur fully with my colleagues and with your statement, mr. chairman, these sanctions are biting. they're biting. it's causing north korea not to get access to the funds they need. they need to bite even more significantly, and they should have even more impact as we move forward with further, be you will, responses to the most recent nuclear tests. and there will be additional
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sanctions and additional activities. so the message is clear to north korea they have two paths, there will be further sanctions, they will become more of a pariah state, and they will find it even much more difficult to survive if they continue down the current path, or they can look to becoming a more legitimate nation-state and getting into the financial institutions and getting their economy back in shape and caring about the people. and basic to all of that is comprehensive, verifiable denuclearization and the ceasing of all illicit activities and transparency and progress on their human rights issues. >> ambassador de trani, thank you very much for your testimony. i wanted to go back to an observation that professor lee made. he noted that if sanctions are effectively imposed and hard currency is cut off, the rise in the number of disgruntled men in the party bureaucracy in the
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military or would more than any conceivable variation on artful nuclear diplomacy give the kim regime reasons to rethink its long-term strategy. and in the same vein, looking back on your efforts, dr. asher, in the last administration. you say that the effect of the campaign froze north korea out of key aspects of the international financial system. and that that produced a destabilizing internal effect that could have been magnified to compel north korea to abandon its nuclear program. pretty definitive statement. i wondered if you, if our panel might elaborate a little bit on the impact on the regime's financial lifelines and its effect on the regime's mindset with an eye toward whether this could be redone again if we went with legislation to try
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specifically to replicate what was done with banco delta asia. i'm working on legislation, and i wondered how could congress help in this vein. and we'll begin with professor lee. >> thank you, mr. chairman. the notion that sanctions are not necessarily effective because they do not necessarily lead to regime change or a fundamental change in the behavior of autocratic states, i would say, is not particularly relevant to north korea. i would argue that north korea is uniquely vulnerable to targeted financial sanctions because, because unlike any other authoritarian governments in the world, the regime is so dependent on such revenue streams, illicit streams of revenue. so blocking, damming if not all,
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even some of those streams of revenue, would achieve secondary, tertiary effects in any sanctions regime which is to provide that regime, that target with a psychological threat of prolonged sanctions that would lead to a rise, increase in the number of disgruntled men in the north korean party, bureaucracy, military. this is an existential crisis for the regime. how much does the regime depend on such illicit earnings? well, we don't know for sure, but i know that dr. asher and others have estimated that as much as perhaps one-third or even as high as 40% of the regime's total trade and probable a much higher -- probably a much higher sum in terms of the regime's cash earnings are derived from such criminal activities. so north korea is singularly vulnerable to such targeted sanctions, i would say. >> i'll ask you, dr. asher, to
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chime in on that. i remember i was in north korea in 2007, and afterwards had an opportunity to talk to a defector who had worked in their missile program. and he told me how obtaining hard currency was so difficult that the whole production line at one point was shut down. i think he said for seven or eight months because they couldn't get the hard current is i to buy -- currency to buy on the black market gyroscopes that they needed for the program. but let me ask you your thoughts. >> well, i think the key to the effectiveness of our program of action during the bush administration's first term was we created a very sophisticated model working with ambassador de trani in his previous capacity and other members of the intelligence community as well as doing a lot of open source research on businesses. business withs have public records associated with them. we understood that north korea's
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football lifelines -- financial lifelines were centered outside of north korea. north korea did not have its own internal banking system. it was largely in places like southeast asia and austria and hong kong and macau, places that we could get so. and given the fact that there was a disproportionate association between the high-level regime finances of kim jung-il and his family and illicit activities, we knew that by combining law enforcement as well as targeted regulatory actions involving the patriot act we could affect those finances. and we did so in a way that was aiming at specific individuals, specific actors, specific institutions. we didn't just go willy-nilly at this. there's a sort of black art behind the way this was conducted, and i think that's ooh why we had an effect. i believe the same could be done today, but it's going to require a use of of coercive force against chinese institutions and actors and trading companies that will require considerable
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resolve by the administration. >> ambassador, your thoughts and then we'll close. >> no, i agree with dr. asher. i think they are biting. i mentioned the executive order, treasury's executive order 13382 and their support ors. i mean, entities like the korea mining trading corporation, these entities are being sanctioned, but anyone dealing with them would come under the same ruling and have the same consequences. is, yes, and i -- in us to the sanctions which are biting and very, very important, i believe the proliferation security initiative by getting the countries, getting all our countries together to insure that north korea does not proliferate and does not receive the materials that are necessary to sustain their program so vital. and i think we're moving, i think, pretty aggressively and with significant success in that
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area. and as dr. lee said, i think it is biting. because eventually it's going to have consequences. you've been there, mr. chairman. there's two north koreas, the provinces where the leadership in pyongyang really doesn't care that much and pyongyang itself. well, eventually, these sanctions are biting those elites, those in pyongyang who rely on this flow, and that's going to cause some significant pressure on the leadership. and that, i think, is powerful. >> thank you. mr. engel. >> when chairman royce and i were in asia a few weeks ago, we raised with the chinese leadership situation in north korea. of wondering if any of you have thoughts about china and the role that it has been playing and the role that it might play in the future. i mentioned before that this morning i heard there was an agreement which china ostensibly was going along with, but we know that china has been propping up the regime for years. china is fearful that in case the regime were to collapse
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they'd have a million north korean b refugees moving into china itself and that china also would have a fear of south korea dominating a united korea and having a u.s. ally right up to its borders. i'm wondering if any of you can give me your thoughts on china's actions and what we can expect. >> um, i think china, and you mentioned that, i think china is a key player if not key to the north korean nuclear issue, certainly very, very instrumental in getting some resolution. i think china has been working it. it's been -- they modulate their approach because of what you cited, the potential for instability, refugees coming across the border and the concern about the weapons. but i think our objectives are similar, denuclearization. it's not in china's interest to see a nuclear north korea for the same reasons. if there's instability, there are weapons there. and that stuff can get in the
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wrong hands. one of the big issues we have and concerns we have is nuclear terrorism, the ability of some of this material -- it was cited a minute ago by the chairman in his statement and you mentioned that also, sir,al cabal. having this nuclear material in north korea, not only having nuclear material and weapons, it's the potential for that proliferating, and china is very concerned about that. so i think with china and now with the new government coming in, xi jinping and with the additional sanctions i think we'll -- i believe and hopefully we will turn a page and we will be more in concert with them and approach this issue in a very deliberate way to include a dialogue with pyongyang so they understand what the consequences are. there's no surprises here. so hay know what's -- so they know what's ahead for them, and they have a decision to make as to what path they want to take. >> dr. lee?
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>> with over the years it's become something of a chick louse that the chinese communist party will never give up on the korean workers' party, on the dprk. 60 years ago china had compelling reasons to intervene, to take a great risk and confront the united states-led u.n. forces in the korean war. today china has compelling reasons not to take that risk and to continue to develop its economy and grow richer by protecting the integrity of the international financial system. mao tse-tung was viewed as the leader of the asian revolutionary movement. for china not to take action as the dprk was falling would have had implications on his intention to liberate taiwan, and china had a fallback plan in the soviet union. today the emergence, the eventual emergence of one free
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korea, a single, united korea that is democratic, pro-u.s. and pro-china of necessity, it will be pro-china, poses no threat to the chinese. of course, the chinese won't move to destabilize pyongyang on their own initiative. so we, the united states, can give china that incentive. >> thank you. any thoughts about the negotiations that the north would like to have ostensibly with the united states? one of the things that sticks in my mind when i met with north korean officials, again on two occasions, was that they seemed to be disinterested in the six-party talk and more interested in bilateral talks with the united states. do you think that's still the case today? dr. lee or ambassador? anyone. >> i definitely think that is the case. it's always been the case. north korea has made it very clear they want a dialogue with
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the its united states, and the u.s. position has been this is a regional, it's a multilateral issue. but there are issues like the illicit activities we were talking about that are very unique to the united states. in many ways that's why the september 2005 joint statement has two pieces to it; resolving the nuclear issue, but also each country having a bilateral dialogue with the north koreans on issues that are unique to their respective countries. and that's been our approach with the north koreans, and they reluctantly -- given the fact they have no choice -- they've accepted that reality. but they, indeed, would prefer just dealing with the united states. >> well, thank you. i'm wondering if i could ask dr. asher a question, and i'll conclude with this: in your written testimony you talked extensively about the link between north korea and iran. i'm wondering if you could tell us a little bit what's your assessment of the effectiveness in crippling the north korean regime if sanctions similar to what we are implementing against
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iran are enacted against north korea? >> yeah. it is a very good question. it is quite startling to me that the sanctions that are imposed in the action programs imposed against north korea pale in comparison with those being pursued against iran today. north korea is a country that is not a theoretical enend riched uranium-producing, bomb-making nation, it is creating a large stockpile right now. itit has a proven track record f exporting every single military program it hasp developed as was evidenced in syria. the fact that the comprehensive iran sanctions eclipse those imposed against north korea, to me, is a clear indication of why our policy is in some ways upside down. north korea has the supply that iran needs of, basically, untarnished, unvannished, nonaffected nuclear material and capability. we should have proposed -- we
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did propose and we should have pursued an aggressive action against the north korean nuclear network equivalent of that against the a.q. khan network in afghanistan. it was something that the ambassador and i both believed fundamentally and we tried to convince the bush administration. we failed to do that. as a result, north korea's in a situation where it's relatively pristine in being able to supply the tools other nations may need. >> thank you very much, mr. chairman. >> thank you, ranking member engel. we now go to ileana ros-lehtinen. >> thank you so much, mr. chairman. thank you for convening this important hearing, and most importantly for getting such great panelists before us today. our approach over the years in dealing with north korea has resulted in complete failure administration after administration. north korea has held america and the world hostage because
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pyongyang continues to pursue its goal of nuclear armament, thumbing its nose at the world while leaving its citizens malnourished, suffering from disease and, indeed, starving. north korea uses the same dangerous tactic time and time again, it dangles the idea that it is willing to denuclearize as a bargaining chip and then the kims renege on this. it was the bush administration's inability the to see that evil trick that led to the erroneous and dangerous decision to remove north korea from the state sponsor of terror im, sst list. despite the fact that ill illict activities continued. as we have seen in the last few months, north korea has only further advanced its ballistic weapons capabilities. i was vehemently against the bush administration's decision to remove north korea from the sst list and have continued to call on the current administration to place north korea back on the list for the sake of our national security and the security of our allies
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in the region including south korea and japan. the fact that north korea warned today that it would cancel the korean ceasefire in retaliation for more sanctions only reaffirms the threat to our ally, south korea. kim jong un has made his priorities clear, north korea is perfecting nuclear capability, supporting and equipping rogue regimes such as iran and syria. such support to other state sponsors of terrorism -- because i believe north korea belongs on that list -- should be more than enough for the united states to redesignate north korea on that list. i have introduced a bipartisan bill, the north korea sanctions and diplomatic nonrecognition act that would do just that. how extensive do you think the cooperation between these rogue regimes has been, i would ask the witnesses, and if north korea's allowed to keep its nuclear and ballistic missile program and successfully shares this material and technology
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with iran, the world is looking straight in the face of the most dangerous nuclear arms race that we could ever imagine. we know that north koreans need money, and one of the only ways that it can get that money is through these ill illicit activities, counterfeiting, drug trafficking, proliferation of nuclear and plussic missile technology and expertise to other rogue regimes. if iran is one of north korea's main sources of hard currency, how effective have recent sanctions been in limiting iran's access to cash, and what more needs to be done to insure that it cannot continue to finance its or north korea's nuclear program? another main source of aid for pyongyang is the help from china and russia. now, we know the news that china has reportedly agreed to support new sanctions at the u.n. on north korea, however, there have been no final agreements on the language. do you think that china will agree to meaningful measures, or
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will the chinese water down the sanctions to protect north korea? how can the u.s. convince china and russia to stop protecting north korea both at the u.n. and domestically? we must begin to have a comprehensive approach to our sanctions capability when we attempt to cut off these regimes from their source of income, and that's why i introduced the iran, north korea and syria non-proliferation accountability act which will prohibit assistance to any foreign government that has provided assistance to iran, north korea or syria, that would increase sanctions on any person or entity transferring goods, services or technology for the chemical, biological or advanced conventional weapons program of iran, north korea and syria. now, according to reports it may be possible that pyongyang's latest nuclear test was a test for iran and north korea. what are the possibilities that north korea was testing an
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iranian warhead? and would this be a game changer, and what implications would in this mean for u.s. policy toward iran and north korea? but i'm more interested in dr. lee's recommendations for legislation that we could file or pressure we could bring to bear to treasury, commerce and other agencies to enforce stronger sanctions. do you believe that those can be done through executive order? they should be done by congress? do you believe listing north korea as a state sponsor of terrorism would include all the legislation that you recommended or action that you recommended, dr. lee? one second. we'll talk later. >> go ahead, mr. lee. >> all of the above. but as ambassador de trani mentioned, we have executive orders; 13382 signed by president bush in 2005 and 13551 signed by president obama in 2010. the question is enforcement, the
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political will to enforce those measures, to clamp down on proliferation act tufts and to punish third-party institutions, chinese banks and so forth. >> thank you very much. political will. thank you. thank you, mr. chairman. >> yes. we'll go now to mr. mr. faleomavaega. >> thank you, mr. chairman. mr. chairman, north korea remains as winston churchill once said of the soviet union a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma. we have only the slightest glimpse of what its leaders are like or what they are thinking. this includes the new 28-year-old leader, president kim jong un. that is why the opportunity presented its when a basketball star named dennis rodman and his recent visit should not be completely dismissed as trivial. by my calculation, dennis rodman
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has now spent more face time with north korea's new leader than any other american. as i recall, mr. chairman, we were dismissive of the invitation that the american ping-pong or table tennis team received to visit china while playing in a tournament in the japan in april 1971. china, with a legacy of the korean war and ongoing great culture revolution, was much a pariah state as north korea is depicted today. however, it should be noted that this so-called ping-pong diplomacy changed world history with the american president named richard nixon awe arrive -- nixon arriving in beijing less than a year later. it is my understanding president kim jong un loves basketball. sometimes sports, mr. chairman, can have a process result on diplomacy. as i noted in a recent article in a korean newspaper as only
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nixon can go to china, it now seems that my opinion at the height of the renewed tensions of the korean peninsula, in my opinion, only south korean president can seek to move national reconciliation between the two koreas. she took a fist step towards that reconciliation process by going to north korea in 2002 to meet with kim jung-il, the man widely suspected as being responsible for the death of her own mother. why did the president embark on that journey for peace? some in my opinion, she did it for love of country and for the tens of thousands of namelies divided by a demilitarized zone mandated by more powerful nations almost 70 years ago. yes, the south korean people are concerned about the nuclearization of the korean peninsula, but once again they will be the victims not of their choice. ..
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free but all the rhetoric has not stop north korea from the development of the nuclear weapons program. now have all the sanctions. china, a prominent member of the u.n. security council, shared an 800-mile long border with north korea. it remains beijing's primary goal to preserve a friendly relationship with north korea
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for obvious reasons. and that whatever the costs. anymore sanctions in my opinion, mr. chairman, may threaten pyongyang's survival but will not be seen as being in china's best interest. therefore, china does not enforce sanctions and didn't do so, sanctions in my opinion are largely meaningless. indeed, financial sanctions aid the chinese banking institutions which do business with north korea seems rather presumptuous. coming from a country like ours which owes china a debt of some $1.3 trillion, according to the latest report on national debt to other countries. mr. chairman, can you imagine that a heated situation, countries in asia setting off a nuclear arms race where these front-line states will develop and acquire their own nuclear weapons? nuclear arsenals in japan, in south korea, in taiwan, in
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indonesia, vietnam and the philippines and malaysia. it's not a scenario that conjures up a peaceful process for issue. the same can be said of countries in the middle east. iran fears israel's capability, nuclear capability. thereby bringing fear among the arab countries. the chain reaction continues. if i will add one thing, mr. chairman, let me make this one point clear. north korea is already a nuclear state. having its capability to of stockpiling some eight nuclear weapons. and i suspect it now has the capacity to produce even more nuclear weapons. my time is done, mr. chairman, thank you. >> if i could just ask, were you addressing the chairman when you said, when you said iran fears, fears israel and, therefore, is developing nuclear weapons capability? >> my point, mr. chairman, i
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wanted to say that this is what makes a sense of hypocrisy, the double standard of the whole nonproliferation policy. why is it that we continue to allow the five permanent members of the security council to hold onto the nuclear weapons, nuclear bombs, and then tell the rest of the world you cannot have them? this is where, in my opinion, may be wrong, why this sense of strange tension among the haves and have-nots? that's why -- >> i understand, but to quote former president to become sometimes the difference is attitude. the difference between states that is using something for defense, but other states that have intent to use it for offenses capability. since you address the question to me i -- >> by that, mr. chairman, we have a saying in the islands -- which means that three leaves do not move for nothing. there's a reason. there's a causation. this is perhaps one the issues
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to the whole nonproliferation movement, what we're trying to do is what's causing countries like iran and north korea to cling onto the nuclear weapons? that was the basis. thank you, mr. chairman. >> we're going to go now to mr. chabot, who is the chairman of the subcommittee on asia and pacific. >> thank you, mr. chairman. and thank you for calling this very timely hearing. i look forward to working with you in an effort to create stronger and more effective sanctions on the north korean regime. i think most of us agree that more needs to be done aside from the issuance of strongly worded responses from the administration. the usual routine condemnation from the united nations, and perhaps a slight tightening of sanctions from our western allies. we know that the primary opposition to our efforts comes from north korea's prime
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benefactor, communist china, and that without substantial cooperation from beijing, our efforts to curtail his illicit activity of the kim regime will be greatly hindered. this morning it was reported that the u.s. and china reach a deal and united nations on a new set of sanctions against north korea. it's not clear what the new measures include beyond possibly adding new companies and individuals to the financial and travel ban list. professor lee, you discussed how to use of executive orders 13, 382, and 13551, could actually freeze the assets of chinese entities assisting north korean proliferation activities, and that this pressure would induce beijing, hopefully, to cooperate. do you think this is an effective way to persuade china to work with the international
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community to pressure pyongyang? or do you think it would cause him a negative reaction from china's new leadership? china has already said it will not embargo oil for fear that if the north korean economy collapsed, it could send waves of refugees to china. what is the most effective way for china to work with the international community and pressure the kim regime, while also protecting its borders? >> thank you very much. the chinese are extremely pragmatic. there's a reason in my humble opinion that the chinese civilization is the oldest in the world on point of continuity and it is due to their resilience, hard work, and profound pragmatism. if the chinese were given financial disincentives, reasons
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to put it crudely, lose money, i think that would be more effective in gaining chinese, china's attention than other channels of diplomatic action. >> thank you very much. doctor, let me ask you, north korea arms a very large share of its income from illicit activities as you have mentioned. how important is it to the regime's survival and its military capabilities? and has the percentage of gdp originating from criminal activities changed in recent years? does it remain similar -- what would you suggest that the administration and congress to in this area that would actually do some good? >> i have no doubt that the interagency efforts in 14
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different agencies including multiple department of justice agencies to investigate and implicate, and i can north korean entities including members of the leadership and leadership organs in the context of multi, of wide range of illicit activities, everything from counterfeiting to cocaine trafficking to counterfeit cigarettes, methamphetamine trafficking, including to the united states, you might be where the web a sting operation going on within the gambino crime family to our agent jack garcia, the 320-pound undercover fbi agent who was also in touch with north korea, which would run and the process was truly soprano state, given their obscenity for partnership they formed with a crime family. you know, i think we have a strategic level to a on her criminally. i think we cut the percentage of gdp considerably. i think we scared them.
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and when we say them, i mean the leadership of north korea all the way up to the love of kim jong-il. than in 2006 those efforts were abandoned by the bush administration and we've seen based on what i've heard from government collects, a slow recovery in the illicit act committees of the north korean regime. we've seen even more protracted increasingly weapons of mass destruction proliferation activity i believe behind scenes. these are not always in the same pot that they ultimately ever has to get the revolution funds to kim jong-il, no most exclusively the source of those funds will be some type of illicit conduct. conventional trade issues not very profitable for north korea. >> thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you. we go to mr. brad sherman, ranking member on the terrorism, nonproliferation, and trade committee. >> thank you. i usually agree with my colleague from american samoa, but i do want to address briefly his view that there is hypocrisy in america's nonproliferation
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policy. in the world has avoided the destruction that many predicted when the nuclear genes was unleashed in 1945, chiefly because of the nonproliferation treaty. iran and north korea are in violation of the treaty. the five permanent nations on the security council are in full compliance because they signed as nuclear states. india, pakistan, israel are non-signatories. defending the treaty is critical, since without it, i'm sure that there would be dozens of nuclear states and we would've experienced several nuclear wars i now. i would also point out that iran has no legitimate fears, no even illegitimate here' heirs of isr. they do not share a border. israel has not called for a world without a persia.

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